Publication: billboard 200
Date: May, 2001
page: title: Tool may 20 2001 New York (Hammerstein ballroom) author: Dylan Gadino May 21, 2001 Tool May 20, 2001New York (Hammerstein Ballroom) Just five days after the highly anticipated release of its third full-length effort, "Lateralus" (Volcano), prog-metal clinicians Tool fastened themselves securely to the stage at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom Sunday (May 20) to deliver over two hours of radio hits in addition to their monstrously long opuses. After a five-year absence, "Lateralus" marks Tool's most experimental attempt to date, and the live setting only reinforced the Los Angeles-based quartet's love of mystery and tongue-in-cheek morbidity. Saturated with a gaggle of psychedelic lighting and computer-animated screen stories, the group finessed its way though 14 meticulously executed songs and managed to represent each of its four major releases spanning a nine-year recording career. Dressed completely in black, squeaky bald vocalist Maynard James Keenan, guitarist Adam Jones, and bassist Justin Chancellor combined managed to move less than a few feet during the sold-out show. Keenan, known for sporting a number of gender-bending costumes, wigs, and prosthetics, arrived on stage conservatively with black leather pants and a long sleeve shirt (after intermission he would change into a black halter top). Each member, including the petite singer, was cloaked in shadows throughout the entire set, allowing the audience to see little more than flashes of silhouettes. Keenan strayed from his personal riser positioned near the back of the stage right only once -- a few seconds before launching into "Prison Sex" -- and did little more than jerk his limbs, crouch, march mechanically, and sing to the giant two screens behind him. While drummer Danny Carey carried on as if he actually enjoyed himself -- effortlessly banging away at his double bass kit from the opener "The Grudge" to closing hours later with "Lateralis" -- his bandmates seemed smitten keeping the mystery alive. Jones and Chancellor's tilt-head-down-and-play style was interrupted by a burst of explicit energy during "Lateralis." The pair bobbed their heads when Carey blasted into a rare steady groove, and Chancellor's subtle diving bass line was even conspicuous enough to incite two small mosh pits on either side of the venue floor. But for the most part, the others were dwarfed by Keenan and the giant center screen, as well as the frequently disturbing video images of slug-like atrocities, hermaphrodites, nude women in peril, and animated man-creatures. Indeed, these visuals became so much a part of the stage show that a video for new single "Schism," shown during a brief intermission, evoked one of the most energetic responses of the night. Making little effort to engage the crowd, Keenan did thank the audience for their support. "Thanks for voting for us," he said, in reference to the new album's impending debut in the upper reaches of The Billboard 200. "We'd kiss your babies but we don't want to get spit all over us." In a likely comment on today's rap-drenched metal scene, he suggested, "maybe between us and Rage Against the Machine [who have been in the studio with Chris Cornell] we can erase all the bullshit that's been happening over the years." The statement was timed well, as Tool then floated their way into new songs "Disposition" -- a quiet five minute segue replete with thudding tom-toms and clean picked guitars -- and the monotonously psychedelic, 11-minute "Reflection.," a down-tempo meandering concoction soaked with vocal effects and precise tribal drumming. Mystery and monotony aside, Tool still knows the crowd needs an occasional hook. To that end, the band offered superlative renditions of popular singles "Stinkfist," "Forty Six & 2," and the 1998 Grammy-winning "Aenema," which found the audience shouting, "fuck these dysfunctional insecure actresses" in an ode to the destruction of Los Angeles. "This song hasn't come true yet but we're still hoping," Keenan said before the song. Notable omissions included the singles "H" and "Eulogy." But a stunning version of the slightly poppy "Opiate," from the 1992 EP of the same name, made it clear that although the hooks have diminished throughout the years, Tool's progressive freak show has stayed very much the same. Here is Tool's setlist: "The Grudge" "Stinkfist" "Forty Six & 2" "Prison Sex" "Schism" "Pushit" "Disposition" "Reflection" (Intermission: "Schism" video) "Sober" "Parabol" "Parabola" "Aenema" "Opiate" "Lateralis" -- Dylan P. Gadino, N.Y.
Posted to t.d.n: 06/10/01 12:50:40